After every few years comes a film that changes the way we judge film; most of the time the name of James Cameron crops up with such films. Be it Terminator 2 or Titanic or Avatar, James Cameron has proved his worth as a filmmaker who steers others in a new direction. Although he isn’t behind the camera with his latest film Alita: Battle Angel, he has penned the script that was well-executed by Robert Rodriguez, another filmmaker with cult classics like Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn and Sin City to his name. So when two of the best names in filmmaking join hands, Alita: Battle Angel happens.
Yes, it is ‘more like a James Cameron film than a Robert Rodriguez film’ as stated by the director but it wins because it has been done intelligently. The script may have been penned by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis but it’s the idea behind the script that matters; it is based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm and Cameron had decided to direct it long before he thought of Avatar. However, when he was unable to make time, he went to the Desperado director who did it more or less like Cameron. Set in the year 2563, the film revolves around a cyborg named Alita (Rosa Salazar) who is found and put together by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) and who finds out that she is made for bigger things than replacing the Doc’s daughter. With the help of Hugo (Keean Johnson), Alita uses her skills to take a stand against the shining city Zalem responsible for making the metropolis of Iron City into a junkyard and treating its people as slaves.
What makes the film all the more interesting is the fact that it has transformed a futuristic story into something gigantic. Be it the Motorball competition on skates or the action sequences, the revelation of Hunter Warriors and the following sequence, everything has been done brilliantly. The cities do resemble the modern day New York, the fashion looks more like the ‘70s and the ‘80s but that’s because the director sees the future as something we will revert back to. The detailed production design adds value to the extremely well-knit story where the powerful performances by the actors specifically Rosa Salazar, Christopher Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, and Mahershala Ali make it a worthwhile experience. What makes it better than last year’s Ready Player One is the backstory that isn’t revealed till the very end and keeps you intrigued. You have two of Hollywood’s bigwigs making cameo appearances here and I will not spoil the suspense by naming them here.
Overall, the heavy C.G.I. helps the film look realistic as well as futuristic at the same time; a sequel to the film is in the works because the story is ‘to be continued’ and that too in a good way. It may not have done as well as expected by the filmmakers but to make a dystopian film is always tricky as you may or may not fulfill the expectations of the audience. Trust me, in a few years, people will be talking about the action sequences of this film just the way we quoteTerminator 2 scenes or those from Matrix. It is in no way a lesser film and thoroughly enjoyable especially if you watch it as an action film buff. Waiting patiently for the sequel as things will go ugly between Alita and those who stand against her!